Gold of the Sun continued...
Marcos was gone and forced to live in Hawaii. By all rights Carter should have been out of the treasure business. Carter knew that Marcos had left behind a strong group of loyalist and politicians. This was true even after Aquino became President. Carter was keeping informed of what was happening in the Philippines through the Movement for the Free Philippines who were a strong anti-Marcos faction. Carter had the treasure maps but had no plans to use them. At the time he considered personally going back to the Islands impossible. Suicidal was a better word. Carter was also being informed of events through Jack Anderson and his reporters. There was a major American historical event which changed all of that.
The US Congress had passed the Boland Agreement which required the CIA to seek their approval for funding of their covert operations. With so many Congressmen knowledgeable about their operations they knew that secrecy was impossible. They chose to get their funds from other sources. The result was the Iran-Contra scandal that led to extensive Congressional hearings. Among those who were required to testify was Marine Lt. Colonel Oliver North, retired Major General John Singlaub, and Lieutenant General Robert Schweitzer. The media was having a field day about the illegal sale of arms to Iran. During the second world war Singlaub had been with the OSS and later was a Section Head of the CIA station in Mukden, Manchuria. During the Vietnam war he commanded the assassination team known as Operation Phoenix. Schweitzer was a Deputy Director of the National Security Council and a senior military advisor to President Reagan. Both of these men had offices in the Pentagon and were members of a high level think-tank made up of other senior military officers and top politicians known as the Geo-Military Tech.
Prior to Marcos's ouster Jack Anderson had reported to Carter that the CIA had made a deal with the President and were in the Philippines digging for Japanese buried treasurer A CIA front corporation called Nippon Star was headed by General Singlaub and was made up of many senior officers, some still on active duty. Anderson had gone to the Philippines and confirmed that this information was true. The Philippine press had a media circus over this and Anderson broke the news in the US in his articles. Anderson told Carter that they were digging at four sites. Carter knew that only one of those sites was real and that was at Mount Makiling, near the town of Los Banos and the campus of the University of the Philippines. Anderson correctly assumed that the CIA was going to use these unlimited funds to get around the Boland Agreement. Anderson also reported that they had an eyewitness and another member of the Leber Group on their payroll. But they only had the eyewitness memory and not the treasure maps. Carter was confused about the three sites that were not real.
By January 15, 1987 Carter had become a general manager of a new car dealership in Las Vegas. He received a phone call in his office from a man who identified himself as Alan Foringer who said he was calling from an attorney's office in Seattle, Washington. He asked if Carter would meet with him later that day. Carter asked him what he wanted to talk about and Foringer said he was digging for treasure in the Philippines and knew that Carter was the key to the success of their venture. Carter wanted more details and when Foringer said that he was the President of Nippon Star and that General Singlaub was with his group, Carter said that was a CIA operation and he wanted nothing to do with it. He refused the meeting and hung up. The next morning just before 9:00 AM two men entered his office. The tall one introduced himself as Alan Foringer. Carter was angry and told him he that must not hear too good. He was about to throw them out of his office when Foringer looked at his watch and said that Carter was going to receive a phone call in a few minutes from a representative of President Reagan. Carter decided to wait.
At exactly 9:00 AM his phone rang and a man identified himself as Lt. General Robert Schweitzer. He said he was calling at the request of the President. Carter interrupted him and asked where he was calling from. The General said from his office in the Pentagon. Carter told him he would call him back. He did not ask for the phone number, instead he called the information operator and got the main number to the Pentagon. He dialed the number and asked the operator for the office of General Schweitzer. The secretary answered and when he gave her his name she said the General was expecting his call. The man who answered the phone was the same voice he had spoken to earlier. The conversation lasted over an hour with the General trying to convince Carter to join them. Perhaps Carter had seen too many movies about the CIA and he wanted no part of a CIA operation. The General used every persuasion. It wasn't until the General asked him if he wasn't a loyal American and if he would not want to help his country that Carter agreed to talk to Foringer and later with General Singlaub. Schweitzer ended the conversation by saying President Reagan would be pleased with his decision.
After five days of meetings Foringer and several phone calls with General Singlaub in Manila Carter signed an agreement with Nippon Star. The computer disk had been prepared by attorneys for the Geo-Military Tech. Under the agreement Carter was to receive one third of the treasure and he was one of five members of the management team along with Foringer, Singlaub, and Schweitzer. Nippon Star was also to receive one third. The remaining third was to go to a secret foundation controlled by the management team that was to be used "in the interest of promoting and maintaining freedom in other parts of the world." All in all it was somewhat of a scary document. Singlaub did not attend these meetings since he was busy running the sites in the Philippines and meeting with Ray Cline, a previous Assistant Director of the CIA and at the time the head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence, who was in Manila touring the sites and working out the security. After signing, Singlaub wanted Carter to come to the Philippines to meet with him. Carter refused, but did agree to meet with all of the management team in Hong Kong. It turned out to be a four day marathon. Carter recorded the meetings and they were unbelievable. All of a sudden he found himself discussing the future of the world with people who could influence it. Nothing in his life had prepared him for this. He liked Singlaub and considered him an American hero, but was concerned with some of the direction that the meeting had taken.
Those concerns became alarm when, a few days after the Hong Kong meeting, he received a handwritten letter from Alan Foringer describing a CIA takeover and the establishment of a new "Military-industrial complex controlled by us and Daniel Graham of the SDI High Frontier, George Keagan, Chief of U.S.A.F. Intelligence and Jack Nessey, recently retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff." The matters that needed to be discussed were:
Strategic Defense Initiatives, Other Space Programs, B-1 Bombers, MX Missiles, etc. and Conventional Weaponry. This was all out of Carter's league. What followed was right out of the comic books. There were dozens of high paid military officers over the rank of Colonel, Navy Seals, and politicians all staying in a "safe house" outside of Manila. The CIA people and the Philippine workers were being harassed by the Russian KGB who were offering large sums of money for information. They descended on the Philippines in droves seeking some of this easy money. Carter had to quit his job because keeping up with all of this was too time consuming.
Three incidents occurred which dictated Carter's next action. First he had provided Singlaub and Schweitzer with an easy-to-do site on Corregidor. This was a real site but not a map site. It could be dug in five days. Elaborate plans were made and a force of thirty men were sent to the island including the armed security. Nippon Star had a permit to do this site signed by the Office of the President. Digging started and excitement was high. Singlaub was not present and Schweitzer had gone to Manila to take his place. Singlaub was testifying at the Iran-Contra Hearings in Washington. After mobilizing this large force they started to dig. Before they got down four feet a dozen helicopters landed and deployed troops of the Presidential Security Force. Outnumbered, the guards surrendered and they were driven off the island at gun point. It turned out that the permits they had obtained were bogus, issued on Presidential stationery and signed by someone who had no such authority. Carter couldn't believe it.
The second incident was worse. All their radio transmission were scrambled through state of the art electronics. The descrambler was in the back room of the safe house in Alabang. With no air conditioning the windows were left open. It turned out that the CIA had rented this house right next door to a KGB safe house. All the Russians had to do was listen and they knew exactly what was going on. On top of this one of the housekeepers was listening to the table conversations and reporting to the Russians who were paying her. Carter would later describe this as a "Katzenjammer Kids" operation. God help our country if the rest of our country's intelligence was being run this same way. He held back giving them any more information.
The third straw that broke the camel's back was when Carter learned that one of the key motivaters behind Foringer seeking him out in the first place was the same man who was responsible for his indictment after he returned from the Philippines with his life. Foringer had called him from his office in Seattle, Washington. This was that same secret organization that Carter had borrowed money from. They had agreed to finance the CIA operation, but only if they got Carter, because only he had the maps. That did it, Carter sent General Schweitzer a letter cancelling the agreement. But, how do you quit the CIA and live? At this point Carter didn't really care. All of this pressure put him in the hospital near death. He did recover after three serious operations and the CIA continued to try to get him back. Events quickly moved on.
Alan Foringer and the Nippon Star group continued working in the Philippines for several years. In spite of Carters warnings that only one site they were working on was real, they continued to throw away time and money. On the real site they discounted Carters suggestions and hired a so-called eyewitness who Carter had told them was a fraud. They followed the advice of this "eyewitness" whose name was Peter Lim and managed to miss the target, which was only a few yards away. With Carter gone the Seattle attorney and his group withdrew their funding. With no results and with the Geo-Military Tech exposed along with the bad taste left after the Iran-Contra hearings, the CIA slowly removed their support and tried, unsuccessfully, to resort to denying their involvement. Foringer, who was a real healthy and robust individual would die under the most mysterious circumstances. Even after his death members of the group tried to again recruit Carter.
After Carter's cancellation of the Nippon Star agreement he decided to explore the possibility of getting a legal permit to do a recovery on his own. He went to San Francisco to meet with Alex Esclamado, the owner-publisher of the Philippine News. Esclamado was the brother-in-law of the Speaker of the House of the Philippine Congress. Carter knew Esclamado and had met with him many times. He was a pioneer in printing an anti-Marcos newspaper and had published a 23 part series of the original Carter expose' which ran for nearly a year. Carter supplied the information, photographs and documents. At the time it did a lot of damage to Marcos who constantly put his foot in it everytime he tried to deny his participation in the Leber Group. It was during this meeting that Carter's lower colon exploded with severe pain. Carter ignored the pain and even ate lunch. Esclamado wanted to take him to a hospital, but he was determine to go home to see his own doctor. Fortunately his plane was delayed at the airport; he passed out before he boarded it.
He woke up two days later in a South San Francisco hospital. The doctor who had operated on him said that when they opened him up on the table two other doctors had suggested that they sew him back up. The peritonitis was too far advanced. One doctor said he looks healthy otherwise, let's clean him up and see how he responds to antibiotics. It was touch and go. Esclamado and others thought he was dying and arranged for his brother-in-law, Ramon Mitra, the Speaker of the House, to visit him at the hospital to discuss the maps and the future benefit they could have for the Philippines. He was also visited by an author who had interviewed him earlier for a book he was writing about Marcos's gold. The author, Charles McDougald, who had lived in the Philippines, also thought Carter was dying. McDougald was at the hospital every day trying to get as much information from Carter as possible. Carter, who was heavily sedated with morphine, hardly remembered that he was even there, but he must have revealed a lot.
After a month and a half Carter was finally home although bed-ridden and under a nurse's care. He couldn't walk and was facing another surgery when he was strong enough. McDougald who knew the purpose of Carter's meeting with Esclamado continued to stay in daily contact by telephone. He had told Carter that he had a friend who had been the President of the University of the Philippines. He was now President Aguino's Chairman of the National Security Council and Head of the Crisis Committee. His name was Dr. Emmanuel Soriano. McDougald had told him all about Carter and the fact that he had been talking to the Speaker, Ramon Mitra. Mitra was a politically strong opposition candidate for Aquino's presidency. Soriano told President Aquino about Carter. She had met Carter before her husbands assassination. When McDougald told Soriano that Carter was going back into surgery and that the chances of his recovery were very slim, Soriano got the Presidents permission to fly to Las Vegas to meet with him. He was hoping to get Carter to agree to working with Aquino to recover a treasure site. Soriano told Carter that the President was very serious about this and had sent him during the height of a serious coup d'etat where he was desperately needed. Carter was impressed with this and with Soriano.
What follows is too long for this outline. It involves a dig on Corregidor which was aborted because of U.S. Seabee's; an excavation at Fort Santiago (not the air-vent which Marcos had recovered); a cave-in that killed two of Carter's workmen due to a Japanese booby-trap; another media frenzy that caused Carter to appear before the Philippine Senate and the Congress which almost cost Cory Aquino her Presidency; and Soriano's and McDougald's successful takeover of the Fort Santiago site and Carter's expulsion from the Philippines. It also includes the theft of another of Carter's sites that he had started at the Bonafacio Bridge and the successful recovery which was kept from the President and the world. The latter site was financed by a Las Vegas major illegal drug dealer who was also behind the takeover of Fort Santiago. At this point Carter was beginning to believe that the ghosts of the many dead had put a curse on this Philippine gold, ala the curse of King Tut's tomb. In reality Carter knew that what he had been experiencing, even during his first exposure to this treasure with Marcos, was pure and simple greed. He would learn later that greed certainly played a big part in it, but the real problem was a lot more sinister and harder to detect.
Carter, knowing that gold fever was going to be a factor, decided that his next hunt was not going to involve a lot of investors. He entered into a partnership with an Arizona multi-millionaire who agreed to fund the entire dig. He had two sons who were supposed to help Carter and were willing to get their hands dirty. During Carter's last trip to the Philippines he had renewed his friendship with Giga and Valmores. He hadn't seen them in thirteen years. It was a warm reunion. Carter and the two eyewitnesses set out to locate the site they wanted to do. Carter had insisted that the site be on private land after the fiasco he encountered with the Government when digging on Federal land. Aquino was still in power. on private land he would not need a government permit. The World Court's forty year moratorium had expired in 1986 so the war loot would belong to the owner of the property under Philippine law. Carter wanted to return to the old Teresa site where Marcos made a recovery. Carter knew there was considerable treasure left in those tunnels. He had examined them and they were only partially dug. He tried to make a deal with the landowner but he insisted on 50% of the treasure. Carter was thinking only 20% to the landowner. He decided to keep looking.
Ben Valmores told Carter about a major site in the Santa Maria Mountains. It was isolated and was on private land. Carter did not know this site and in checking his maps he did not have one for that area. Ben solved his dilemma by producing an original wax map. How could that be? Carter had burned all 172 of the waxed maps. Valmores told Carter that there had been really 175 maps and that he had kept three of them for his own personal use. Valmores knew this site well and had been checking on it every three months since the war to make sure it wasn't being worked on. The map was genuine all right. The distinctive waxing process and the ancient Japanese characters were drawn by the same cartographer who had drawn the maps he possessed. More importantly six of the nine landmarks still existed. This was a large site. There were seven large deposits on the landowner's property. it had been a major Japanese encampment during the war. The Japanese had called it Little Tokyo. It was the scene of a major battle in 1945 since it controlled all roads leading east of Manila. There had been only a few survivors and those were not officers.
The commanding general Akira Tanaka had died there. Carter knew this was going to be a major excavation. One that might take a year to reach the first target, that is unless he could convince the landowner to allow him to use a bulldozer and a clamshell crane.
Carter met the Santa Maria landowner. He was surprised to learn that he knew there were major treasure sites on his property. He had good reason. His father allowed a team of Japanese in 1948 to dig on his property under the guise that they were building a shinto shrine and a monument to General Tanaka and his command. The Japanese worked for over a year and they secured the site with dozens of armed Japanese. The owner's father was not allowed anywhere near the digging. They used huge cranes and bulldozers. The Japanese did build the shrine and the monument. Carter knew that could have been accomplished in less than a month. They were digging for treasure. The shrine was over an actual site so he assumed it was recovered. The monument was 100 feet away from any site. He guessed that without the maps they didn't know where else to dig. Carter negotiated a deal with the landowner that gave him four years to recover all of the remaining sites. The landowner would not let him use heavy equipment nor could he tear up the landscape. The property was covered with mango, papaya and cashew trees.
By using the map, the landmarks, the foundations of the Japanese buildings, and Valmores's incredible memory, Carter was able to locate the original filled-in air vent. He confirmed this with electronic instruments. Valmores had described sitting on the outer steps of a long building with the Prince inside and watching over two weeks of trucks coming in and the heavy cargos lowered down the shaft. The gold was in iron boxes with aluminum straps. When they first arrived the Prince had one of the boxes opened. Valmores saw the contents were gold. He would later estimate that they were 75 kilo bars and that each box contained six bars. No wonder the Japanese had used a large crane to lower the boxes in the shaft. They weighed over a thousand pounds. Carter started digging in October 1990 knowing that the monsoon season was only three months away.
The map showed that the tunnel floor was 55 feet down from the surface. Since the soil was all back-filled he would need to use heavy timber to shore every inch of the shaft to avoid cave-ins. It was a major construction project and very expensive. The uprights were 8" x 8" x 12". He used the hardest wood he could find. It had to be hauled 20 milles from Manila on single lane roads most of which were unpaved. The digging progressed and artifacts were beginning to surface. A worker found a Japanese whistle and a rusty helmet at the 35' level. They also ran into tremendous ground water. During the war these tunnels opened onto a rice patty some 80 feet lower than the tunnel floor. The water had a natural flow, but now it was a problem. They had to purchase some heavy submersible pumps. The deeper they went the more pumps had to be added. When they reached the 45' mark the rainy season started and the shaft was flooded right to the top. There was no way they could continue until next season.
Just before the rainy season Carter experienced more gold fever. This time it was the landowner. Carter had employed two security guards who were in civilian clothes so as not to attract attention with the nearby farmers. They were private guards and not military. They were armed with handguns and were there to protect the Americans from roving bandits and keep the equipment from disappearing. After Carter recovered the whistle and helmet he showed them to the landowner. It was a mistake. The landowner armed a dozen locals with heavy weapons and jumped the guards. He ran off all of the workers and claimed all of the equipment as his own. It was a touchy situation. Carter could hire his own armed men and forcibly take the site back, but that would be a blood bath. He was in a foreign land and even if he wasn't that type of action was not in his nature. He hired an attorney and filed criminal complaints against the landowner for illegal possession of firearms, threatening his workers, and the theft of his equipment. It turned out that the landowner was heavily into drugs and that his armed men were supplied by the local police chief, who was also supplying him with his drugs. Carter was happy that the rainy season had started. The tunnels were flooded and the landowner had no idea where to go from there. It would be three months before that problem was resolved and the landowner was placed in a detox clinic by other family members to dry out. Carter dropped the charges and would be allowed to resume work after the rain stopped.
Carter was experiencing other problems. His new partner had a heavy drinking problem. He seldom came to the site. Carter's problem with it was when he had been drinking his personality changed completely. His two sons who were there to help him also became a problem. The younger one was stoned on drugs and couldn't function. Carter requested he be sent home. His partner resented that. The other son was quite a help to Carter. He would die within two years from lung cancer which probably was caused by the bad air in the tunnels. He had passed a physical before he came to the Philippines and was dead within months of being diagnosed with cancer. Carter's partner problems got worse after they were unable to work on the Santa Maria site. His partner had befriended a Filipino who convinced him that he had a treasure site on his property in Northern Mindinao. Carter met with him and advised his partner that he didn't believe the story. His partner insisted that they go and check it out. It was an interesting trip, but ended abruptly when Carter was threatened with an Uzi machine pistol by this new landowner and a number of guards who turned out to be military. Carter vowed he would never again find himself looking down the barrel of a gun.
Back in Manila Carter's partner problems exploded. The partner breached his contract and cut off all funding. He tried to take over the Santa Maria site. They both filed lawsuits against each other. Carter retrieved the valuable equipment from the site and placed it in storage. Using his own money he paid off all debts and left the Philippines after securing the excavation by filling it in. It took a year to settle the lawsuits with Carter being given possession of the site. His partner was out, but Carter did not have the personal funds to finance a continuation of the Santa Maria dig and that site was so real and so close. Once again Carter was forced to admit that the phrase "Gold Fever" was not just words but a dangerous phobia. He was reminded of the Hollywood movie, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre". During the next three years Carter would continue digging at the Santa Maria site finally isolating the treasure chamber. Gold fever of his associates and their many attempts to steal the site continued to plague him. Carter was beginning to think that there really was a curse on this treasure, or on him. He would later find out that it was a far more earthly curse that he was dealing with and that it was controlled by men, not ghosts.
THE GOLD OF THE SUN
The rest of the story in brief.
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were indicted by the U.S. Federal Court. Ferdinand would die before the trial and Imelda would win an acquittal by releasing 72,000 metric tons of gold which were being stored in Fort Knox.
Carter would file a lawsuit against the Marcos's claiming $79 Billion as his 1/11th share of the treasure they owed him under the Leber Group Agreement. He would obtain a default judgement.
Carter who had seen the golden buddha at the summer palace which was recovered by Rogelio Roxas and stolen by Marcos gave a detailed deposition to attorney's who had sued the Marcos's for its theft. Carter's video deposition was shown to a Honolulu Federal Court jury and that allowed Roxas's attorney to win a $22 Billion judgement. Roxas had died mysteriously on his way to the trial.
Carter met a middle aged Filipina who had spent years trying to locate him. Her name was Mary Salazar and she had been, and still was, a trustee for Marcos's treasure. From Salazar Carter was to learn the inside story of everything that had happened to him and a lot more. Salazar had been present when the treasure was removed from the Cruiser Nachi and from the Teresa site. She had inventoried it, took pictures of it, and finally sold it. Salazar had brokered all of the Marcos treasure. She eventually turned over to Carter all of her files and more importantly the Marcos files. Over 60,000 documents including detailed records of the sales. These documents would reveal every transaction and the location of the many banks that still held Marcos gold.
The documents also revealed the secret deals with President Reagan, the China Mandate with Mao Tse-tung where 5000 metric tons of gold were sent to China which was negotiated by President Nixon in exchange for no further Chinese aggression in Asia, the MacArthur agreement with Yamashita and Emperor Hirohito, the CIA involvement in the sale of the treasure and the use of U.S. aircraft carriers to transport the tonnage, the Sicilian Mafia control of the 23 man Umbrella that approved all sales and transfers, the Trilateral control on Marcos and 2000 foreign and US banks, and a whole lot more.
Salazar detailed how Marcos first wanted to kill Carter and later, after learning he had the maps, to pay Carter. Marcos had even opened a gold storage account in Carter's name in the Sanwa Bank in Hong Kong and deposited 2000 metric tons of gold. Carter never knew this because he had gone to the press and the story was published the same day he was to be notified. Through Salazar, Carter met one of the other Marcos trustees who added her documents to those Carter already possessed. Carter also met other members of Marcos's secret gold team who helped fill in the many blanks. The most important thing Carter would learn was who and what was keeping him from making a recovery.
With this new information Carter had worked out a foolproof system on how to finish his projects and more importantly how to keep it once it had been recovered. One thing was certain, he could not have another partner, nor could he have any investors. Carter decided to write a book outlining his experiences and disclosing the entire Japanese gold story. If he was lucky and the book sold he may have his own money to go back to the Philippines and write the final chapter to this story. Carter knew that there could not be any final chapter until all of the sites were recovered. He also knew he wouldn't live long enough for that to happen. By late 1996 he discovered that old members of the CIA's Nippon Star and several of Marcos's Leber group members had formed another recovery group, this time to go back to the Teresa site and finish that recovery. Carter couldn't help but feel that he had come full circle. Somehow he was going to generate the revenues he needed to once again pursue The Gold of the Sun.
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The Lost Treasure of Roatan Island
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